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This is going to take some time but little by little I will chip away at it.
-thought you might be interested in these little beauties, on display at the Gunma Silk Technology Center:

You can learn more about these here but basically glow in the dark silk was spun by larvae that had been injected with a jellyfish gene for fluorescence. The purpose behind this was not to produce new silk cocoon colors but to further future desirable genetically altered silkworms for industrial and medical advances.
Quite fascinating but also controversial in many circles. This really isn’t new news but it was interesting to see these cocoons in person and to hear their explanation. The center was very proud of this display. It was front and center.

These posts are bound to be a little lengthy… lots to communicate but I will try to pretty up the page with some great photos and vids in between my recollections.

Some pretty pictures:

I can’t remember right now how may kilograms of cocoons they were able to store at this site (it was a LOT) but the storage area was massive and very interesting to see. Here are large bags filled with cocoons and storage bins into which the bags were dumped before they were sent on their way for sorting (see previous post). They gave us a bag just for fun as a memento-we were given many gifts along our way and we had a draw on the bus for them- my name came up for the cocoon bag!

Speaking of pretty pictures, our travel agent who worked terribly hard through thick and thin, tsunamis and reactor meltdowns was Ayumi from IACE Travel. She was a gem and adorable to boot. Some were able to meet with her in person at our going away breakfast. I invited her to come and her boss gave her permission to join us. Thanks Ayumi- wish you were here!

Here’s a little video of the Meisen kimono collection we visited along the way. I’m a little unclear on the history of this collection but my understanding is that it is the collection of Junichiro Arai with some pieces also belonging to Yoshiko Wada. I met the elder Arai’s daughter who graciously allowed us to stop in for a visit along our way ( we were just “in the neighborhood”).

Meisen kimono were produced from the late 1800’s through the early 1940’s and were made with fabric produced using the innovative meisen technique of weaving and dyeing kasuri-like fabrics. Much like Arimatsu shibori and the invention of arashi shibori, meisen techniques developed out of a desire to produce more fabric at a quicker pace and in larger quantities for commercial purposes. The patterning style and color selections of this type of fabric were directly influenced by increased contact with the West along with many changes in Japanese society at this time. Often described as a “casual cloth for wealthy people but a fine cloth for ordinary people”, we found these kimono to be very beautiful. This visit also helped to prepare the participants for the kimono shopping that lay ahead of them.

Here is a link to an online exhibit of meisen kimono-I posted this a while back somewhere but it’s worth another look.
Never forgetting the number of cocoons that were raised by hand to create all the silk kimono that we have seen…

Actually- the next post will be on sericulture and the Koyata silkworm farm. Meet Mothra:

and Koyata san and Noriko

Indigo and Ichiku later.

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